Title IX of the Education Amendments is a federal law that prohibits gender-based discrimination in higher education. Ever since its enactment in 1972, it's been applied in a wide span of gender-related intercollegiate issues. But recently, it's commonly referenced in cases involving a more pervasive form of gender discrimination: sexual misconduct.
A “respondent” in a Title IX matter is a person who has been accused of sexual misconduct. There's an unshakeable stigma that comes with being a respondent in these cases that often warrants premature judgment and mistreatment. Being a student-athlete who also happens to be a respondent adds another layer of complexity to an already difficult process. To successfully navigate your school's process as a student-athlete respondent, you absolutely need the help of an attorney-advisor. Here's why.
There's a Possibility You'll Lose Your Scholarship
College students who've earned sports scholarships know better than anyone about the blood, sweat, and tears that go into becoming an exceptional athlete. To be great, you have to be dedicated. And you've likely dedicated countless hours of your time to training, conditioning and honing your skills to dominate in your sport. But despite training hard enough to earn a college athletic scholarship, it's important you understand that these scholarships are contingent upon certain conditions. What most student-athletes learn (the hard way) is that it's actually pretty easy for an athletic scholarship to slip through your fingers.
All it takes is one false accusation. In the past, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has been under fire for going too easy on college athletes with a history of sexual violence. But pressure from lobbyists and advocacy groups has now prompted the association to crack down on athletes who are found responsible for sexual misconduct by barring them from receiving and maintaining athletic scholarships. With your scholarship at stake, it's in your best interest to get the help of a legal representative.
College Athletes are More Likely To Be Named as Respondents in Complaints
According to an analysis by ESPN television program, Outside the Lines, college athletes are three times more likely than other students to be accused of sexual misconduct at Power 5 conference schools. The data provided that about 6.3% of Title IX complaints against students - whether the complaint resulted in a formal investigation or not - involved an athlete as the person accused of wrongdoing. Whether or not the student-athletes were found “responsible” for these accusations were not included in the study.
The findings of this analysis may not be all too surprising given the countless number of high-profile cases of sexual misconduct that have surfaced involving very prominent student-athletes. Nonetheless, this information should compel you to ensure that the adjudication process is as fair as it could possibly be. You can only guarantee fairness and due process with the guidance of an experienced attorney advisor.
You Might Be Suspended Pending an Investigation
Higher education institutions are big on integrity. This is why colleges and universities don't hesitate to bring down the hammer when their students acquire criminal charges. Take the UCLA shoplifting scandal that surfaced in 2017. Freshman athletes LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill were suspended indefinitely immediately after allegations of stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store while in China. But when it comes to Title IX investigations, the response of Louisiana institutions are ironically harder to gauge.
Without a specific uniform protocol, third parties like coaches and athletic directors have the discretion to make decisions that can affect your athletic career. It would be nice to think that these decisions are being made with your best interest in mind, but that is rarely the case. Whether or not you play may or may not be motivated by the desire of an athletic coach to maintain a scandal-free program.
Some schools have limited the freedom of athletic figures like coaches and directors by creating rules that solely allow administrators and deans to impose interim measures. This is why understanding your school's rules regarding your eligibility to play is important.
Are You a Student-Athlete At a Louisiana Institution Who's Been Accused of Sexual Misconduct? Contact the Lento Law Firm
The only way to make sure your voice is heard and that your rights are protected in a Title IX investigation in Louisiana is to retain a student defense attorney. The assistance of an attorney-advisor is invaluable in the Title IX process, especially for student-athlete respondents. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skill and expertise to help you effectively navigate the process. For a case evaluation or for more information about his representation, contact him online or give him a call at 888-535-3686 today.
Louisiana colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student athlete's Title IX advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- Acadiana Technical College Lafayette Campus
- Baton Rouge College
- Baton Rouge Community College
- Blue Cliff College Alexandria
- Blue Cliff College Houma
- Blue Cliff College Metairie
- Blue Cliff College Shreveport
- Bossier Parish Community College
- Capital Area Technical College Baton Rouge Campus
- Career Technical College Shreveport
- Centenary College of Louisiana
- Central Louisiana Technical College Alexandria Campus
- Court Reporting Institute of Louisiana
- Delgado Community College
- Delta School of Business and Technology
- Dillard University
- Grambling State University
- Herzing University Kenner
- ITT Technical Institute Baton Rouge
- ITT Technical Institute Saint Rose
- L E Fletcher Technical Community College
- Louisiana College
- Louisiana Delta Community College Monroe Campus
- Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
- Louisiana State University Eunice
- Louisiana State University Alexandria
- Louisiana State University Shreveport
- Louisiana Tech University
- Loyola University New Orleans
- McCann School of Business & Technology Monroe
- McNeese State University
- Medvance Institute Baton Rouge
- Nicholls State University
- Northeast Louisiana Technical College Delta Ouachita Campus
- Northshore Technical Community College
- Northwest Louisiana Technical College
- Northwestern State University of Louisiana
- Nunez Community College
- Our Lady of Holy Cross College
- Our Lady of the Lake College
- Remington College Baton Rouge Campus
- Remington College Lafayette Campus
- Remington College Shreveport Campus
- River Parishes Community College
- Saint Joseph Seminary College
- South Central Louisiana Technical College Young Memorial Campus
- South Louisiana Community College
- Southeastern Louisiana University
- Southern University and A & M College
- Southern University at New Orleans
- Southern University at Shreveport
- Sowela Technical Community College
- Tulane University of Louisiana
- University of Louisiana at Lafayette
- University of Louisiana Monroe
- University of New Orleans
- University of Phoenix Baton Rouge
- University of Phoenix Lafayette
- University of Phoenix Louisiana Campus
- University of Phoenix Shreveport Bossier
- Virginia College
- Xavier University of Louisiana
All students must be extremely mindful when accused of sexual misconduct at their college or university; student athletes in particular, however, can have even more concerns at all stage of Title IX proceedings because the stakes are higher yet – When first contacted by their school's Title IX office, when a sexual misconduct investigation begins, when facing a hearing or an appeal, or when seeking further recourse by filing a Title IX complaint with the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights when necessary. For student athletes in Louisiana who are facing a Title IX case and their families, it is critical to take the necessary precautions as soon as possible, including having an experienced attorney advisor, when accused of sexual misconduct. Unfortunately, many student athletes and their families, not being as familiar what is at stake and also their rights in the process, will mistakenly believe that if they "just explain what happened," everything will work out. Title IX cases can be won, but student athletes and their families must recognize, however, that achieving a favorable in a Title IX case requires a dedicated and intensive approach best handled by a professional who has a track record of successes in the Title IX disciplinary arena.
Fighting passionately for the future of student athletes at colleges and universities throughout the nation for over a decade, Joseph D. Lento knows how important it is to mount the strongest defense because he understands that a student athlete's academic and professional future, in addition to a post-college athletic career, is on the line. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as a Title IX advisor to student athletes facing sexual misconduct investigations and disciplinary cases in Louisiana and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.